November 11th, 2007

blue moon

Wibbling about fantasy worlds -- with particular reference to the WIP

Possibly synchronicity, possibly I was unconsciously picking up something from the LJ zeitgeist, but this post of matociquala's fits nicely with the thoughts I've been having about the W that is not currently IP.

I have now definitely identified why the WIP is stuck. Unlike much of what I've written in the past, this is not an old idea that has been composting for years. Bits of it have been hanging around for some time, but the whole things as a novel hasn't.

Which meant that I didn't have the overall background world fully formed in my head. Now the Baradel novels are of the Narnia type, that is there are these Other Worlds and, if you have the right magical means, you can transfer between them. One of these worlds is our own perfectly ordinary mundane world; in some of the other worlds magic works much better than it does here and is a definite force to be reckoned with.

Moving a Mountain, on the other hand, is what I believe is referred to as a secondary creation, that is like Middle Earth and Discworld, there is no way to get from here to there. It's a self-contained world and it has a different history etc. Though the animals and humans and much of the vegetation are just like the ones here, which is possibly laziness or possibly just a desire not to commit smeerp.

The thing is, I hadn't decided whether the WIP was set in a similar-but-different secondary creation or whether it was our-world-with-magical-additions. Examples of similar-but-different secondary creations that I have very much enjoyed (and which were possibly influencing my ideas!) were Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next world, which is sort of like the UK in the 70s, but also has significant differences and Malcolm Pryce's world of the Aberystwyth novels, which again are set in a past that never actually happened where some things seem strangely familiar, yet Wales (which seems to be independent from England) is waging an endless war in Patagonia.

The reason I could get as far as Chapter 4 with the first draft is due to the fact that all these scenes are set within the college buildings or the protag's flat.

The reason I'm stuck is that Bethany has, for the first time, to venture outside.

And I don't know what's out there...

Possibly I have to do some world building, but my feeling now is that my idea of writing this in a similar-but-different secondary creation is not going to work as well as making it our-world-but-with-added-magic. But perhaps this is just me? Especially when I was younger, I loved the idea that perhaps if I was in the right place at the right time, I might manage to meet one of Alan Garner's elves. If I could only find the right stone on Alderley Edge and say the magic word right, Fundindelve would open.

Do others share this secret fantasy? Or do you prefer worlds like the Discworld where the author uses another world entirely to say things about our own?

I'm going to do a quick poll, so if anyone is reading this and has any thoughts on the matter, your input would be much appreciated.
blue moon

What kind of worlds do you like best?

Poll #1086669 Settings for fantasy stories

I like stories where the magical fantasy world is:

Somewhere other than our world. It's separate, different and inaccesible, eg Lord of the Rings, Discworld, Curse of Chalion
Somewhere else but accessible from our world, eg Narnia, Elidor, Andre Norton's Witchworld
All mixed up with our world, but the magic is hidden from most people, eg Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen, War for the Oaks, Elizabeth Bear's Blood and Iron, The Dark is Rising
Other, I'll explain in the comments.